On September 2, 2016 I visited the Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut to view the movie A Bigger Splash. Upon arrival I noticed how happy and cheerful the two women working in the box office were. They get along well while answering phones where there are questions about the movie that is being shown. While explaining the type of movie that is going to be screen, A Bigger Splash is a drama they prepare to open the doors as 6:30 approaches. The movie starts at 7:30, so they open the doors an hour ahead of time.
During my time visiting the box office I learned a thing about the family atmosphere that comes with the Garde Arts Center. “My mom used to work in the box office. She worked here for many years,” states Belle who has been working at the Garde for four years. Learning that her mom used to work in the box office at the made me realize how happy many of the patrons are as they are given their tickets.
Trish, the other woman working in the box office, has been working the box office for six years. But, she has been working there for twenty-one. “I can help you over here,” Trish calls welcoming another patron to the Garde Arts Center. “Most of the patrons are great,” Belle tells me. “True,” Trish agrees. But, working the box office doesn’t go without some mishaps. The two women have to help those who have misread the seating charts online, from there they are willing to help those get a seat where they would like.
But, even with those mishaps, the patrons are always smiling, even joking with Trish and Belle as they make their way in. As the patrons walk in, some with passes to see all of the seventeen films in the series, others are buying tickets at the door. Then there are some who are picking up the tickets they have already purchased online in the will call box. While Belle hands out a set of preordered tickets, Trish’s BOCA machine is printing out light blue tickets. Yet, there is one patron that will stick out. “Congratulations on winning!” Trish says with a smile, as the winner of contest with The Day comes to view the movie. I soon see that the people who Belle was helping out greet the young winner.
When the lights start to flicker I head through the lobby strewn by artwork by local artists. Inside the electric candles are dimmed as the show is about to start. As previews for Sing Street and the Man Who Knew Infinity play I can’t help but think of a quote that Belle told me. “It’s like a family atmosphere,” she told me. That is one thing that I can take away from my time in the box office.